Copper Exports From Japan at 3-Year High as Local Demand Falls

Copper exports surged 27 percent last year to the highest level since 2009 amid a decline in domestic demand as users from Sony Corp. to Toyota Motor Corp. increased production overseas.

Shipments climbed to 512,277 metric tons from 402,114 tons in 2011 and compared with a record 589,260 tons in 2009, according to finance ministry data today.

Manufacturers moved production abroad after the yen reached a post-World War II high in October 2011, making their exports less competitive. Rising costs at home accelerated the trend as Tokyo Electric Power Co. increased electricity charges because of higher energy imports after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Copper production rose 14 percent in 2012 from a year earlier while demand slumped 12 percent, according to data from Pan Pacific Copper Co., the biggest producer.

Export markets include China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Producers also include Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Mitsubishi Materials Corp., Dowa Holdings Co. and Furukawa Metals & Resources Co., a unit of Furukawa Co.

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